Friday, September 26, 2008

No More Water


It's raining like the dickens here and there's a flood watch on, so it's not without a tinge of irony that I post today's funky nugget, "No More Water in the Well," by Bongos Ikwue & the Groovies.

Unlike most of the forgotten Nigerian musicians who eventually find their way onto this page, Bongos Ikwue is an artist whose name and music still resonate with a large portion of the Nigerian populace. Known primarily as the folky and philosophical troubadour behind sentimental favorites such as "Still Searching," "Sitting on the Beach" and "Cock Crow at Dawn," Ikwue is acclaimed as one of the most sensitive songsmiths in Nigeria's pop canon; many forget, though, that he started out as a righteous rocker.

Ikwue's 1973 debut, the heavily psychedelic You Can't Hurry the Sunrise (produced by Ginger Baker and Jide Alawiye), was one of the first releases from Baker's ARC label, but Ikwue soon signed up with EMI where he recorded a string of classic LPs through the 1970s (including the rarely-seen self-titled set from which today's track is taken).

Ikwue's star dimmed somewhat in the 1980s due to poor handling by his new label Tabansi, and a bit of embarrassment surrounding the widespread rumor that his calypso ballad "Mariama" had been addressed to the First Lady Maryam Babangida, with whom he had allegedly enjoyed a passionate affair in their younger days.

Bongos has since retired to his native Benue State where he has established himself as a magnate in construction and manufacturing. He has long promised a return to the music scene, though. In fact, I think I recall him featuring on a record with some rapper a few months ago and announcing that his new album was completed and would be out later this year. I sure hope it doesn't suck!

Bongos Ikwue & the Groovies - "No More Water in the Well"

(Sari fa' di likkle skip dem)

11 comments:

aduna said...

Hello,
Nice to read you again & many thanks for this groovy tune.

Comb & Razor said...

good to see you, aduna! it's been a while!

Tony said...

great tune !

B2V said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING SO MANY INCREDIBLE TUNES !!
WE LOVE YOU !!!!!!!!!!!

Neu Mejican said...

Lovely.

Leo said...

There is no iota of truth to the rumor that "Mariama" was written for IBB's wife. As a struggling engineering student at ABU, Bongos was practically taken in by a couple who took exceptional delight in listening to his singing (they never thought that he would eventually become a successful musician). According to Bongos, this couple's generosity made it possible for him to have an easier life than most other students in his position at that time. Long story short: Before he made it big, the wife died. Bongos wrote that song in her memory --this information is briefly written on the album cover.
Once again, I commend you for another excellent post.
Leoadiele@aol.com

Comb & Razor said...

thanks for that info, Leo! i believe i have heard that story before, too...

(which album was "Mariama" on again?)

Leo said...

If my memory is correct, I believe that "Mariama" was in the album titled "Tear Drops". Notice the mournful imagery.
Leoadiele@aol.com

Comb & Razor said...

yes.... i think you're right!

i know i have that record somewhere in the crates... i'll dig it up and take a look at what you're talking about.

Christopher Berry said...

any chance we could get a full album download? this sample is incredible.

Anonymous said...

soulful and nice. thank you for sharing!